Negative Effects of Starvation Diets
Have you ever searched Twitter with the hashtag #starvationdiet? If you do, you will find a bunch of people, mostly women, talking about how they need to stop eating because they are fat or feel fat. You will also find some people who are actually starving and would probably have a very different view of the diet than those women. The fact is that there are negative effects of starvation diets, while there is only one real benefit to it – fast weight loss.
You may want to ignore the negative effects as you think about fitting into that dress or bikini, but the truth is your health could suffer if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing to your body. Facing the facts of what starvation does to the body can help you move forward in a healthier way and avoid unhealthy habits.
Negative Effects on Metabolism
The goal of weight loss and weight maintenance is to have a healthy metabolism. But, when you starve yourself, you are screwing with your metabolism in a big way, which is bad for weight loss.
“[Starvation mode] directly leads to a loss of muscle, which in turn lowers metabolic rate so that the body needs fewer calories to keep ticking over and weight loss slows down.” – Weight Loss Resources
Also, your insulin and glucose levels are negatively impacted, and because proper metabolism is dependent on those levels being healthy, you could be setting yourself up for long term metabolism or health issues.
Starving Yourself Releases Unwanted Hormones
You will be hungry on a starvation diet. There is no doubt about that. The less you eat, the more you will crave your favorite foods and want to eat. But, as you deny yourself the food that your body is screaming for, it will start to go under stress.
As you start to experience physical stress, you will start to experience mental stress as well. You will feel tired, moody, and a little ticked off. All of this stress will affect your body negatively.
Research has shown that ‘stress fat’ is a real thing. Chronic stress can cause you to keep fat on your body, no matter what diet efforts you are putting forth. This is why effective and popular diets like The Beta Switch Diet and others strictly warn against starving yourself and help to optimize hormones.
When you are stressed, your brain sends out the message that hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, need to be released. Cortisol tells your body that it needs energy, even though you have not burned off a lot of calories. That makes you hungry, but on a starvation diet you cannot eat, which causes more stress.
When starved, other important hormones, such as testosterone slow down, and you start to burn fewer calories. Moreover, cortisol encourages your body to store fat, especially fat in your stomach, so it can be hard to lose the weight you so badly wanted to lose because your body is hanging on to it for dear life.
Doesn’t Work Long Term
You may lose some quick weight, but once you start eating again, that weight will come back on. That means you either have to develop an unhealthy relationship with dieting by going on starvation diets consistently in between periods of eating normal, or you have to stay on a starvation diet in order to maintain consistent results. Either way, it is not fun, nor healthy.
Moreover, you have likely done some damage to your metabolism and slowed it down after a starvation diet, which means next time you try to lose weight, it will be even harder.